As kids, pretty much everyone in America was a split Christmas shopping decision away from playing with Lincoln Logs -- A toy that's appeared on store shelves for over a century and still whispered to mall Santas every December.
John Lloyd Wright, the son of famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright, invented the building set around 1916. It's usually assumed that the name Lincoln Logs references Abraham Lincoln's upbringing in a log cabin, but there's a chance that it's a nod to the elder Wright's real name, Frank Lincoln Wright.
The original Lincoln Logs mold was based on the Imperial Hotel, a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed building that still stands in Tokyo. Once the toy hit shelves during World War I, it included instructions to build Lincoln's log cabin and Uncle Tom's cabin.
Real wood logs created by the Red Square Toy Company of Chicago, Illinois rank up there with Legos, Erector Sets, Tinker Toys and Lincoln Logs' current distributor, K'Nex, as iconic building toys.
Lincoln Log sets got more extravagant over the years, allowing kids to construct sawmills and other improvements on simplistic log buildings.
Small things have changed for the toy set, with roof pieces changing from wood to plastic and back to wood, but the younger Wright's basic idea remains intact well into the 21st century.
The younger Wright and his twist on building blocks and construction toys entered the National Toy Hall of Fame in 1999.
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